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Updated Oct 21, 2022, 10:59am EDT
Europe

Tennis star Simona Halep suspended following positive drug test

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Two-time Grand Slam champion Simona Halep has been provisionally suspended after testing positive for a banned substance called Roxadustat, the International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA) said Friday.

The 31-year-old Romanian, who is currently #9 on the WTA rankings, provided a sample during the U.S. Open in August. She used her right to challenge the test results, which confirmed the results, ITIA said.

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Romania's Simona Halep in action during her semi final match against Kazakhstan's Elena Rybakina July 7, 2022.
REUTERS/Matthew Childs/File Photo
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In a statement on Twitter, Halep said the test results were “the biggest shock of [her] life.” She said the test showed an “extremely low” quantity of the substance.

“I will fight to the end to prove I never knowingly took any prohibited substance,” Halep said, adding she believes the “truth will come out” over time.

Roxadustat is an anti-anemia medication and helps produce hemoglobin and red blood cells. The substance is banned in sports because it increases the amount of oxygen delivered to muscles, thereby increasing endurance.

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Halep is barred from participating in tennis events organized by the sport’s governing bodies, ITIA said.

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